Assessing and addressing the psychosocial impacts of COVID‑19 among pregnant women and health care providers in Anhui, China
On January 31, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the COVID‑19 outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. In addition to focusing on immediate clinical/biomedical needs relat-ed to the outbreak, it is also important to consider potential mental health impacts. Pregnancy can be a time of heightened vulnerability, especially during public health emergencies. Women may have several concerns related to: their health and fetus; the health of family, friends, and their infants; access to ser-vices; potential exposure during hospital deliveries; and social isolation, among others. Health care pro-viders (HCPs) also face mental, physical, and social challenges that can affect their wellbeing and ability to care for patients. Building on our team’s existing research work and infrastructure, we will first assess the potential impacts of the COVID‑19 emergency on pregnant women’s mental health (depression) and the implementation of a perinatal depression and screening and management program in Ma’anshan, Chi-na. Secondly, we will then evaluate the effect of a cognitive behavioral therapy intervention aimed at re-ducing depression in pregnant women and investigate changes in the acceptability of and adherence to the intervention. Thirdly, we will investigate potential impacts in terms of adverse birth outcomes (preterm birth, low birth weight, small for gestational age) and explore women’s experiences during the outbreak. Fourthly, we also plan to assess anxiety among HCPs and investigate the provision of perinatal health care during and after the emergency. This study aims to contribute to the global COVID‑19 response, foster our understanding of the potential mental health impacts of the emergency, reduce public health risk and burden, and help inform clinical and public health responses to the outbreak.